This one hit me hard and I feel like I need to write about it....but it means writing about something I haven't mentioned on the blog for a while.
While visiting his family this past July, Daisy (his mother, Gabriel's grandmother) received a call informing her that Ray had been arrested. She called us (Jasmin, Rachel and I were out shopping) and asked us to come home - she just heard some bad news. I was already having a weird day, and everyone knew it. I was just...in a funk.
When I heard the news I was....uh....I don't really know how to describe it. I guess I was worried. You see, Ray had a run-in with some racist cops a few years ago and that led to a world of trouble for him. Falsified police reports and court trials and one beast of a state prosecutor scared him into taking a plea bargain. It was one year of probation, withholding adjudication. Long story short, he violated that probation after I left by not checking in and then leaving the state without informing anyone, which made in a fugitive. Ugh _*_ (<--that's me banging my head on the table) So he has been "hiding" for the past couple of years. He got pulled over in July for driving without a seatbelt, which led to his arrest.
I have felt a lot of things the last few years and had a lot that I would have liked to say to that man, but I kept to myself and moved on with my life. Yes--he may be a deadbeat dad. Yes--he may have been verbally/emotionally abusive. Yes--he may have been the most disrespectful man I have ever dated in my entire life. But he has a lot of great points and he doesn't deserve to be punished for something he didn't do. Especially not a felony charge. So yes--I was worried about him.
But a huge part of me thought "This is my chance."
You see, Ray has never told me his address or phone number or any sort of contact information since I left Texas. Why? I don't know. Whatever. He probably thought I would send someone after him. I honestly don't care enough to put any effort into something like that. I fully believe what goes around, comes around. It's not my job to judge or punish him, so I'll let the universe deal it back to him the same way he dished it out. Maybe he'll learn something.
I told Ray long ago that I wouldn't keep him from his son....but I would step in at any point I feel my son needs to be protected. I know what it feels like to think your dad doesn't care about you or love you and there is no way I will ever let anyone do that to my child.
Well I gave him plenty of time. G will be two next month. TWO YEARS and not a single penny. Not one visit. No effort whatsoever. He knows how to contact me. My email has been the same for years. And, of course, there's always facebook. He knows I stay in contact with his family too. Nothing. For TWO YEARS, people. I think that's more than enough time. My son deserves better.
M is the most amazing father to my sweet little boy. They love each other dearly, and G has never known any other dad. I asked him earlier today "G., where's your daddy?" And, of course, he immediately pointed to the only man who has ever been a father to him. They are best buddies. I am so incredibly happy that my son has the most amazing father the world could have produced. How did we get so lucky?
My sweet, amazing husband has asked to be allowed to adopt G from day one. That is where things get complicated. I would have to get Ray's permission....or I would have to get his rights terminated. To do that, I have to inform him with a letter of intent. I don't know where he lives. Grrreeeaaat.... His parents try not to get too involved in Ray's affairs and I don't blame them--I actually really appreciate it. But now--NOW--I can serve papers. I can have them delivered right to his cell. Easy as that!
I spoke with an attorney to get some instruction on how to proceed. He told me I first need to find out where Ray is and send him a letter so we can get a feel for the situation. (Will he be cooperative or resistant?) Duh. Easy, right? Just do a google search.
Uh--NO. NOT that easy. He has an incredibly common name for his culture. I had to narrow it down. I knew the state he was in and the general area, so I began doing inmate searches in all the county jails and the prisons. (Wait--is he in jail or prison? Is this on a state level? or is it federal?) No dice. So I started calling each of the correctional facilities. All dead ends. I was getting really frustrated and wanted to give up and cry. I started the search so hopeful! I thought it would be easy to find him! I was wrong. I had searched for a couple of hours and found nothing. I even tried calling and texting his parents and, of course, they didn't respond. Big surprise.
Then I remembered something his old probation officer told me. The probation office contacted me two years ago asking if I knew where Ray was. I had no clue at the time. I asked his P.O. "Just out of curiosity, what happens when you guys find him?" He told me Ray would be arrested and extradited to Florida, where the "offense" took place. He would sit in jail until he could get a court date that would sentence him to whatever. Ah-HA! I hadn't thought to check Florida correctional facilities!
One search in the correct county (the first one I went to) and there it was. BLAMMO! I wasn't expecting results after my hours of failure, but there he was. Picture and all. Holy crap. I FOUND HIM! I found him. Wow..... After years of knowing nothing, here it was. All of it. Even his last known address.
Status: In Jail
Booking Date: 08/31/11
Bond Amount: $0.00
Charge: PROB VIOLATION-FELONY
I look from his inmate photo to my son and back again. Am I looking for similarities? I don't see them. G certainly looks like he's mixed with....something. He is clearly not all caucasian. The lips--they bear resemblance. The black-brown eyes too, I guess. The olive skin. But I glance back over at my son sitting next to his daddy--his REAL daddy. The man he mimics every day. The man who reads to him, plays with him, teaches him, provides love and care and stability and a good example of what a real man and father and husband is--and my resolve solidifies.
I'm doing this.
I have written Ray a letter. The gist of it is this: I harbor no ill will for you, and actually wish you the best. You haven't been around or ever tried to be. I know you love G in your own way and I'm asking you to love him enough to give him what we all know is best for him. Please let him go.
It is my hope against hope that he will see and agree that it is in G's best interest for him to sign over his parental rights to the man who has been Daddy while he hasn't. I am praying that he will be mature and unselfish and that he will cooperate with my efforts to create a more solid foundation for the son he never cared to meet or support.
So there it is. The last thing I looked for was the inmate correspondence address for my son's biological father. I need it so I can plead with him to let M give little G what Ray has never made any effort to provide. I found it. I am both relieved and....on pins and needles! Keep your fingers crossed for us!